“O sinless one, certainly, how can any king accomplish his objectives if he doesn’t have such a messenger working for him?” (Shri Rama speaking to Lakshmana, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 3.34)
एवं विधो यस्य दूतो न भवेत्पार्थिवस्य तु।
सिद्ध्यन्ति हि कथं तस्य कार्याणां गतियोऽनघ
evaṃ vidho yasya dūto na bhavetpārthivasya tu।
siddhyanti hi kathaṃ tasya kāryāṇāṃ gatiyo’nagha
To maintain a good relationship with the other side, you would rather not do the negotiations yourself. You certainly could. Who better than you to communicate desires and objectives? You have an idea of what the other side will say. But still, if everything goes through representatives, there is less of a chance of hurt feelings at the conclusion.
To that end, several abilities are desirable. Each one is a bonus in the person going to bat for you, so to speak. They may not check every box, but anything additional they can bring to the table will be helpful in meeting success.
1. If they know how to speak several languages
This negotiation could be about salary. A contract between an employee and an employer. A player and a team. A lawyer and a firm. A doctor and a hospital. On the largest scale, it could be between two powerful nations.
If your representative can speak more than one language, it is a bonus. It is the human tendency to be friendlier with those who share something in common within the realm of culture. If I am living in a foreign country where everyone speaks a different language, if I find someone from my home country it is easy to become friends immediately. We at least can speak with each other comfortably.
2. If they are deft at the art of persuasion
Who actually expects the other side to agree to everything at the outset? If you want something, the people in the position to give it probably aren’t ready to part with it. They would like their own concessions; something from you.
A representative who has a knack for getting people to give in, to agree to demands but make it look like they are not agreeing, is valuable. In the process of negotiating, they are not easily discouraged. If an employer denies my request for a pay increase, I might be so upset that I contemplate quitting the next day.
The person negotiating on my behalf should not be like this. They should expect to hear denial on the other side, and they should think of ways to turn that around. Turn the no into a yes. It is indeed possible, but persuasion is something of an art. It is an expertise known to salespeople. For that occupation there is an urgency; a necessity, since this skill determines how much the person earns in salary.
3. If they can read the situation and adjust accordingly
“Reading the tea leaves.” “Seeing the stitches on the fastball.” “Know when to hold them and when to fold them.” “This is not the hill to die on.” “Live to fight another day.” “Read the room.”
So many sayings to describe the fine art of discrimination. Logic and reasoning. Understand the situation and then behave in a sober and rational way. The representative sometimes may have to show anger and great frustration. Threaten to walk away, to blow up the entire deal. Other times, they simply accept what the other side says.
4. If they know when to speak and when to remain silent
Sometimes the other side will give away their entire negotiating strategy, if you let them. If they are on the verge of spilling the beans, so to speak, the worst thing you could do is interrupt and have them realize their mistake.
Other times it is important to speak up, to assert command over the negotiation, especially when you are entering from a position of strength. The good representative will be able to make such assessments quickly. It will be like second nature to them; instinct.
5. If they know the strengths and weaknesses of the other side
This is called preparation. Doing your homework. The other side wants something, but there might be some issues on which they are vulnerable. In other words, they would be afraid of losing something you might be willing to give up. That could then be a bargaining point.
The representative has these challenges and more to consider. It is not an easy task, but someone like Shri Hanuman is up to it. He is willing to stand up and fight for the interests of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Rama, who assigns the most difficult task of scouring the earth in search of His missing wife, Sita Devi.
Hanuman does not buckle under the pressure. He works well in both groups and isolation. In the most critical moments, he is by himself. No phone available. No well-wishers to consult. No electronic database to search or retrieve information. Everything from memory.
He follows his heart, which is pure due to devotion to the Supreme Lord. Hanuman succeeds in the missions assigned to him, and Rama takes notice. He remarks to Lakshmana that every leader should have someone like Hanuman working for them.
The representation continues, to this day, for as long as Rama’s glories are sung in this world. Those timeless gunas are found in sacred texts like the Ramayana, which Hanuman takes great pleasure in reading every day.
With same interests to share,
Handling with attention and care.
Knowing when necessary to speak,
And when silence to keep.
Sometimes representing interest alone,
Hanuman for these abilities known.
To where Shri Rama notice taking,
And forever gatekeeper making.
Categories: the five